The short version
The well-respected pregnancy and parenting club, Bounty published some of their member’s private details (including HOME ADDRESS, MOBILE NUMBER, etc) on their PUBLIC YouTube page – where anyone could see a video of our children and then know instantly where we live.
The screenshot above shows my details when they were live, but I found lots of other people in the same situation. This wasn’t just a one-off affecting only me. Although it is impossible to know exactly how many people had also written information in the email body (or had email signatures enabled), this screenshot – taken shortly after my video went live, shows that Bounty’s channel had 914 videos.
It took two days of me emailing, Tweeting, Facebook messaging and phoning Bounty’s head office before they finally removed ALL the video’s that were a blatant violation of the data protection act. The official response to my complaint was this (click to enlarge): –
So let me get this straight – we (the members) misinterpreted the requirements and put ourselves at risk?!
Hold on a moment.. but the terms also state this..
These terms actually suggest that Bounty DO want this info. How were we meant to know they didn’t mean now? Has anyone ever entered a competition where you didn’t give out some contact details?
More details – this will be updated so keep checking back.
*** The full story is taking time because I need to ensure that no one else’s safety will be compromised. Unlike Bounty, I have integrity and common sense.***
Last week, the nationwide pregnancy club Bounty started a competition to win £100 of vouchers. All you had to do was email a video of your child doing something funny. The competition was to run for 3 weeks, and by the start of week 2 there were 914 videos on their YouTube channel.
I entered the competition by clicking the ‘enter here’ link in the email that was sent to all members. This opened up a new Outlook window with the email address filled in automatically. I attached the video, and naturally put my contact details in the message (who wouldn’t? – you want to be found if you win, right?)
Moments later I got an automatic reply from YouTube saying ‘hi bountyuploads’ your video has been uploaded – That’s strange, I thought. That should have gone to Bounty, not me.
I clicked on the link to the video, and to my horror I saw that a video of my daughter was live online – with my FULL NAME, HOME ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, and EMAIL ADDRESS in the video description. This was available for the world to see – pedophiles and all!
I instantly felt sick and worried. Yes, the chances of anyone discovering this was admittedly quite low, but it was still online. I am an I.T. professional who has spent 15 years making sure I don’t publish private details like my home address online, and this has been shattered in an instant. Worse still, I now have my baby to think about and protect. I know how the web is cached, and even those details being online for a minute is one minute too long.
Bounty’s offices were closed (it was 5:45pm on Weds evening) and I spent the next 3 hours phoning Google in the US, the local police, and anyone I could think of who might have the powers to remove this. I emailed, Tweeted and Facebooked Bounty, and finally got a reply at 21:01pm. My details had been online for just over 3 hours – BUT they left everyone else’s up there. I didn’t sleep that night through all the stress and anger. It took another day and a half of me phoning and complaining before Bounty had the sense to remove the competition and all entries so far.
The worst part – the OFFICIAL response from Bounty was basically that I (and everyone else who entered) are at fault for sending them information they didn’t ask for. I quote ‘our members have unintentionally shared personal details’ and ‘The competition will not be re-instated until we can be certain that no-one else will ever risk misinterpreting the requirements of the competition’. An apology laced with blame – How professional. So the fact that they should never have automated something like this is nothing to do with them? Right..
Let’s look at terms and conditions of the competition (click to view larger) :-
Nowhere in the terms did it state ‘videos will be updated automatically’ or ‘do not put private details in your email’. The terms also say that videos will only be uploaded by Bounty if they are suitable and in the right format – which implies that they are being screened first (as one would expect)